I don’t order beer online very often, preferring to pick it up on the way home from work from one of the great local bottle shops. However, I tend to have my favourites and am not the most adventurous, so signing up to BeerBods – an online beer club and subscription service – seemed like the perfect way to broaden my horizons, both geographically and in styles.

For £36 you receive a case of 12 beers from breweries all over the UK and beyond, the idea being that subscribers drink the same beer at the same time each week and share their tasting notes on Twitter. This works out at £3 per beer, which is very reasonable considering the quality and variety of beers on offer.

My BeerBods cargo is delivered to my place of work but, being absent-minded, it seems like every other Thursday I leave that evening’s beer behind. My current backlog includes the unfortunately named Isis Pale from Compass Brewery and the Celt Experience’s Ogham Oak, and as I’m off to Scotland on Thursday, I’ll miss out on the Orkney Brewery’s Dark Island and Black Isle Brewery’s Red Kite tastings. Turning this negative into a positive, I decided to drink the Isis and Dark Island today and convey my impressions here, with a post on Ogham Oak and Red Kite – which I’m taking on my honeymoon on the isle of Lismore – to follow.

I started off with the Isis, a 4.1 % pale ale which pours an amber hue and has a sweet toffee aroma which continues on tasting, while there’s also a suggestion of lime zest. Imaginatively paired with chicken Super Noodles, it didn’t blow me away but it was reasonably refreshing, and kudos to Compass for eschewing a re-brand in light of the rise of the fascist rabble currently rampaging over Syria and Iraq.

Next up was Orkney Brewery’s Dark Island, a 4.6% “old ale”, brewed in the shadow (not literally) of Skara Brae. Brewdog may have Punks but Orkney has Vikings, and in 2008 the brewery attracted faux concern from the Portman Group when it released an 8.5% Scotch ale, Skull Splitter. Dark Island pours a very deep amber, which is only discernible when held to the light, otherwise appearing black. The aroma is roasted malts, toffee, treacle and chocolate and the taste is the same, with the addition of dark fruits and woodchips. The after-taste is tangy and lingering, and not altogether pleasant for me, bringing to mind soured milk (I really hope these comments don’t incite a horde of Vikings to travel south and ransack leafy Crouch End).

While not among the highlights of my BeerBods membership to date, both beers were interesting and further enhanced my knowledge and experience. If you are stuck in your ways when it comes to beer, or don’t have a decent bottle shop in your neighbourhood, it’s well worth signing up to BeerBods. Twitter tastings take place Thursday evenings at 9pm using #BeerBods, and you can follow them on Twitter here. Signing up has helped me see beyond  London, and as the BeerBods tagline states: Drink Better Beer.

Going home somewhere new
The Politics Of Beer